Google Pixel 6 Pro price might rival the iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Google Pixel 6
(Image credit: Google)

A day after Google announced its new flagship phones, the Google Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro, we’ve heard a bit more about the latter – and it looks like it may have a premium pricetag closer to the Samsung Galaxy S21 and what we expect for the iPhone 13.

As DroidLife noticed, Google hardware executive Rick Osterloh has laid out the company’s cost expectations for the Pixel 6 Pro. Sadly, he didn’t give an exact price for the phone, but did tell Der Spiegel that (translated from German) the Pixel 6 Pro “will be expensive” as it’s designed for users who want the latest technology. Even the standard Pixel 6 “belongs in the upper segment” and can keep up with competitors, and Osterloh considers that phone a “mainstream premium product.”

While the definitions of ‘flagship phone’ can be fuzzy, Osterloh admitted in the interview that the last two years of Pixel phones weren’t competing in the flagship market segment. The Google Pixel 5, for instance, was priced at $699 / £599 / AU$999 and only came in one configuration with specs below what the best phones are capable of. 

It stands to reason that Osterloh is positioning the Pixel 6 Pro to be priced against some of the more expensive handsets on the market, like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus ($999 / £949 / AU$1,549) and perhaps against the upcoming iPhone 13, if it is priced alike to the iPhone 12 Pro’s starting cost ($999 / £999 / AU$1,699). 

Google Tensor

(Image credit: Google)

Analysis: so what justifies a premium-priced Pixel 6 Pro?

We still have a lot of questions about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro after Google unveiled the phones. While its tweet thread and blog post introducing the devices listed some specs, we’re left wondering what will justify higher prices than last year’s Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4 before it.

The big answer could be Google’s first SoC, Tensor, which the company claims will empower some big advances in camera capability and voice recognition features. Higher pricetags could help pay down all the research and development it took Google to craft its own silicon.

Or the price could help pay for the extensive camera array: while both phones will have main and ultrawide shooters, the Pro will have an extra 4x optical telephoto camera. As YouTuber Marques Brownlee explained in a new video after allegedly getting his hands on the Pixel 6, the Tensor chipset enabled Google to introduce a new camera sensor in the Pixel 6, as previous phones have been using the same one since the Pixel 2 in 2017. 

There are plenty of other possible reasons for premium-priced Pixel 6 Pro, and they’re pretty obvious if you compare the Pixel 5 with the best phones on the market: for higher costs, they may offer 5x optical telephoto lenses and huge 5,000mAh batteries (Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra), WQHD 3200 x 1440 displays (OnePlus 9 Pro), fast 144Hz refresh rate and up to 16GB of RAM (Asus ROG 5), or even a bespoke chipset (iPhone 12 Pro). 

Google has already announced that the Pixel 6 Pro will get some of these traits, but we’re curious what else will be packed into Google’s first premium-priced phone in years.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.